TPBLeap - Creative Futures

by JJ Vernon

Chapter 5 : Basic Editing Skills

In Chapter 3 we looked at a number of devices that you would be likely to encounter as a sound engineer. Devices that playback audio, such as a compact disc players & other devices that both record & playback audio, such as a minidisc recorders.

In this Chapter we will examine some simple editing tasks that you would be expected to handle & look at editing both on a minidisc recorder on a computer. The comparison will hopefully demonstrate why computers are now considered superior for these type of tasks.


In audio terms editing usually involves:

  • Naming your audio files
  • Arranging your audio files into the required running order
  • Trimming silences/noises off the start & the end of your recordings
  • Removing sections of the audio that are not needed
  • Balancing relative levels between different tracks
  • Blending sound effects & recordings together to make new sound collages
  • Distributing tracks over different discs depending on the required playback order
  • Deleting tracks

Let’s begin by looking at what is available on a minidisc recorder.

Usually a minidisc recorder has a “menu” button & by pressing this you can access the various different editing options available.

NAME – This allows you to name your disc & the tracks on that disc. This can be very useful if you are operating the sound for a complicated show where there are two or more minidisc recorders required.

For example if you were operating the sound for a performance of “The Tempest” that required three minidisc recorders, it would be sensible to call the three discs.

  • Tempest MD1
  • Tempest MD2
  • Tempest MD3

While this may sound obvious, it means that you can visually confirm that you have loaded the correct discs into the correct minidisc recorder before the start of each show. (When you insert the disc into the minidisc recorder, the disc’s name will be shown on the machine's display.)

It is also good practice to name each track on the minidisc recorder. Again, as a track is selected prior to playback, its name will show on the display helping to ensure you do not play the wrong track when given the cue.

  • Track 1 - Q1 Opening music
  • Track 2 – Q2 SFX Thunder
  • Track 3 – Q3 SFX Storm


  • Press “menu”
  • Use scroll wheel to select “name?” from the menu
  • Menu displays “name disc or track?”
  • Use scroll wheel to select option you require
  • Press Yes button or push scroll wheel in
  • Scroll to move through alphabet, press scroll button in to select letters
  • When naming is complete press the Yes button

Computer equivalent – click to highlight the required audio file or folder containing audio files & type
the required name.